By Tracey Dowdy
This week’s shootings in Atlanta once again shone a spotlight on violence against women. In the wake of the shootings, the Democratic-led House hopes to revive a Clinton-era law, The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), that primarily uses federal grants to help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking while trying to reduce those crimes.
Whatever legislation is passed, it’s clear that women need to protect themselves against potential threats. Studies have found that it takes a criminal just seven seconds to decide whether or not you’ll be their next victim. Seven. Seconds. These safety-focused apps can provide the tools and resources you need to stay safe should you find yourself in a dangerous situation.
Kitestring: Kitestring was created because the developer noted many people don’t use personal safety apps because they’re too inconvenient. Users have to shake their phone or hit a button to activate an alarm. Instead, Kitestring has users schedule a text to check-in at a specific time. If you don’t respond, Kitestring will notify your emergency contacts. (FREE)
WalkSafe allows you to see crime hotspots are in your area, helping you avoid them & find a safer route by mapping police monthly crime reports. Data is updated twice a week so users can see where serious crimes have been committed, spot patterns, and identify regular trouble spots. (FREE)
bSafe is voice-activated, allows you to livestream your location, automatically records when an SOS alarm is activated, can fake calls, set up social guardians, and allows for your pre-selected friends or family to walk with you to your destination via the app. (30-Day free trial; bSafe Premium Weekly $0.49; bSafe Premium Monthly $1.99; bSafe Premium Annual $19.99; 24 hours Premium features $0.99)
LiveSafe works as a two-way communication system often used by businesses and universities. It provides a way to quickly connect with safety officials using text, pictures, video, and audio. It also offers peer-to-peer and self-service tools such as virtually walking with friends or family. (FREE)
what3words – provides users with a unique three-word code to give a precise location if you are lost or feel you are in danger. It’s particularly valuable if you’re in a rural area without specific landmarks so emergency services can navigate directly to you. (FREE)
Parachute is the most expensive option on this list but is also the most comprehensive. The app will call, text, or email your emergency contacts, send live video, audio, and location from the scene – including details like the specific level of a parking garage – record the event discreetly, prevent accidental touches from ending the recording or blurring the focus. All evidence is saved automatically if your attacker takes your phone or itis lost, destroyed. (Free trial; Parachute Monthly $9.99; Parachute Micro – Yearly $2.99; Parachute Lite – Monthly $2.99; Parachute Family – Monthly $14.99)
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.